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Driver's License Extensions Ending; Make a Plan to Renew Now

Feb 03, 2021 11:39AM ● By Editor
Image: MN DPS

From the Minnesota Department of Public Safety - February 1, 2021

Minnesotans with driver’s licenses or ID cards that expire as COVID-19 extensions come to an end will have options to renew online or in person. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DPS-DVS) is urging cardholders to plan now, since additional extensions are not possible under current Minnesota law.

There are approximately 300,000 Minnesota driver’s license and ID cards that would have expired between March 13, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021. The expiration date on these cards was extended to March 31, 2021 as a result of legislation signed into law by Gov. Walz last year. These cardholders must renew their license or ID card by March 31, 2021. 

Minnesotans with driver’s licenses or ID cards that will expire March 1 or later must renew by the expiration date listed on their card. 

DPS-DVS is mailing letters to every cardholder whose credential will expire March 31, 2021, to serve as a second renewal notice. Standard driver’s license renewal notices continue to be sent to all Minnesotans with expiring credentials. The letters are also available in Hmong, Somali, Spanish and Oromo at​ to make sure every Minnesotan receives this important message. 

Anyone who does not renew their driver’s license by their expiration date will lose their driving privileges until they renew.

“Minnesotans rely on their driver’s license for vital aspects of their lives. We do not want anyone to experience a lapse in driving privileges, because they didn’t renew by their license’s expiration date,” DPS-DVS Director Emma Corrie said. “We’re contacting Minnesotans directly by mail to make sure they know they need to take action and that they have the convenient option to renew online. We also resumed application services at additional regional DVS exam stations to give Minnesotans more in-person options to renew.”

Minnesotans have options to renew their expiring driver’s license or ID card
  • ​Renew a standard driver’s license online at
    • This convenient option is available for standard driver’s licenses or ID cards that do not require name, address, signature or driver’s license number changes. A person’s record is updated as soon as the online application is complete.
  • Renew in person at a regional DVS exam station, deputy registrar or driver’s license agent office
    • Minnesotans must use this option to make changes to their driver’s license or ID card or apply for a REAL ID or enhanced driver’s license or ID card. They should pre-apply online at before visiting their local office. 
    • Most regional DVS exam stations accept driver’s license renewals and applications on a first-come-first-served basis. No appointments are required. Customers check into a virtual lobby and wait in their vehicle until they receive a text that it is their turn. 
    • Deputy registrar and driver’s license agent offices are independently owned and operated. Many require appointments for all services and have limited appointments available. Locations and service information are on the DPS-DVS website.
Commercial driver’s licenses 
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates commercial driver’s licenses, extended expiration dates to Feb. 28. Commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders will need to renew by Feb. 28 to maintain valid driving privileges. CDL holders whose medical certificate expired on or after Sept. 1, 2020, will need to provide an updated medical certificate and self-certification form to maintain their CDL. 

There are approximately 10,000 Minnesota CDL cardholders ​whose licenses will expire Feb. 28.

CDL holders have the option to renew their card online at if they are not changing their name, address or license number. 

Applying for a REAL ID or enhanced driver’s license or ID card
Minnesotans who choose to apply for a REAL ID or enhanced driver’s license or ID card must apply in person at a regional DVS exam station, deputy registrar or driver’s license agent office. Minnesotans are strongly encouraged to pre-apply online at before visiting an office to save time at the counter and confirm the documents they are required to bring to the office to complete their application. 

Minnesotans may use their valid Minnesota driver’s license as one proof of Minnesota residence. This includes licenses that have the extended expiration date (reflected on the cardholder’s driving record). Once the license expires, the applicant cannot use it as one of the two required proofs of Minnesota residence and will need to select another option from the required documents list​

Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, Minnesotans cannot use their standard driver’s license or ID card to board domestic flights or enter federal facilities. Instead, they will need a REAL ID, enhanced driver’s license or ID card, a passport or passport card or another acceptable form of identification for federal purposes. Minnesotans can use the online Help Me Choose a license/ID Type tool to decide what driver’s license or ID card is right for them. 

Processing times
DPS-DVS updates current processing times weekly online. Here are the license and ID card processing times as of Jan. 20, 2021: 
  • Standard licenses and ID cards: processing standard applications from Dec. 15, 2020. 
  • REAL ID-compliant licenses and ID cards: processing REAL ID applications from Dec. 14, 2020. 
  • Enhanced driver’s licenses and ID cards: processing enhanced applications from Dec. 11, 2020.
Minnesotans can track their driver’s license online at by selecting Where’s My License and entering their driver’s license number.  

DPS-DVS service enhancements
DPS-DVS made a number of changes to improve the way Minnesotans receive services they need, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Service enhancements include:
  • ​Online standard driver’s license renewal or replacement.
  • Online class D knowledge test.
  • Class D knowledge test appointments.
  • Virtual lobbies at open exam stations. 
  • Appointment-only road tests; adjustments to the class D road test.
  • Online commercial driver’s license application.
  • Commercial road test adjustments to maintain social distancing. 
  • St. Paul Exam Station expanded knowledge testing capacity.
  • Driver’s license, permit and ID card extensions. 
  • Disability permit extensions.
  • Focusing on regional DVS exam stations to offer more tests.
  • Saturday road test appointments. 
  • School bus Saturday knowledge tests.
  • Online seasonal farm commercial driver’s license application.
  • Wellness screenings and personal protective equipment.
Additional information about each enhancement is on the DVS website. 

How to stay updated
DPS-DVS answers frequently asked questions related to how COVID-19 is affecting DVS services on the DVS COVID-19 FAQ webpage

The DPS-DVS Facebook page and Twitter page will have information.

How to get help
  • ​For driver services questions (licenses, ID cards, driver compliance and exams), visit the DVS website and submit questions using the driver services contact forms
  • For vehicle services questions (ownership transfers, titles, liens and vehicle registration) visit the DVS website and submit questions using the vehicle services contact forms. ​

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